Review by: Mut Asheru
It’s with a heavy heart that I write this review. WINTER is the 7th mini album MBLAQ a Korean male group that debuted only 5 years ago and is arguably the best musical effort they have produced to date. Having steadily progressed in skills and talents this album shows maturity in songwriting, arrangement skills and vocal abilities. Thankfully their clothing has matured with them. I sincerely believe their earlier outfits at the beginning of their career hurt them as the flashiness (and fuc*in feathers) overshadowed their skills. Still the men endured and their personalities and music won us over despite their wardrobe. Their current state of dress is more subdued and masculine look and feel. Keep it up fellas.
We’ve seen a lot of groups break-up / change-up too soon. And this is another one.
MBLAQ the quintet I’ve come to really enjoy and expect big things from in the future is facing a line-up change as members Lee Joon and Thunder have decided to leave the group in order to pursue other endeavors. Wishing them, and the remaining 3 members Seung-ho, G.O., and Mir the best. Life goes on…after all BBD came out of R&B group New Edition’s break-up and gave us some memorable memories and music. I know these three can do the same. According to a statement from their label Lee Joon will be focusing on filming his latest drama Mr. Baek, while Thunder will focus on his music studies.
WINTER has a R&B feel to it and is composed of 5 tracks (hence the term mini album. EP here in the states). The opening track “Live in the Past” is an instrumental and the other 4 are ballads. All members, save Joon, had hand in writing and composition on this project as well. G.O. penned and composed on “Spring, Summer, Fall and…,” as did Seung-ho for “Live in the Past” and “You Ain’t Know.”
The album has a decidedly somber feel that digs into you right away. The opening instrumental “Live in the Past”, performed by Sueng-ho, imparts a foreboding of imminent pain and despair but also smacks of a haunting loving memory. “Spring, Summer, Fall and…,” tells the lamentable tale of a person stuck in remembrance, for all seasons of a love he can’t forget.
Every member’s vocal ability is impressively represented here on the album. Which is good. I’m sick and tired of seeing Korean groups with 5, 6, 7 and above members above where only 1.5 of them can sing. They even managed to find a place for Joon’s timid vocal delivery which really nestled and snuggled well into the group’s overall makeup. And by timid I mean soft and shy (think Aaliyah and Janet Jackson).
Every track is enjoyable in that “I wanna feel sad about love” kind of way. The final song “Rust”, is a recycled and revamped track from their first album. It has more piano with the bass line taken out which provides a fitting closing, if not somber touch, for MBLAQ in their current 5 member incarnation. They’ve progressed nicely. Hopefully this WINTER will give way to a fruitful and prosperous new season.
Fave tracks = All of them. Seriously.
- Live In The Past
- 봄 여름 가을 그리고… (Spring, Summer, Autumn And…)
- You Ain’t Know
- 괜찮을 거란 그 말 (feat. 혜미 Of 피에스타)
- 녹 (Unplugged ver.)